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Re: Knowing how to live authentically

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  • jimstuart46
    Aija, Thank you for your helpful response and constructive criticism. Sparta? Predator and prey behaviour? Those stunted and poisoned by war, etc.? Yes, a
    Message 1 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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      Aija,

      Thank you for your helpful response and constructive criticism.

      Sparta? Predator and prey behaviour? Those stunted and poisoned by
      war, etc.?

      Yes, a minority of individuals reach adulthood without developing the
      capability to love others. This may be the result of a genetic
      abnormality or an inadequate upbringing (e.g. a war environment,
      abusive parents, etc.). Just as some individuals may develop without
      the proper human emotions and mental well-being, so occasionally whole
      societies may go wrong. But my claim is that most individuals, most
      societies, develop with the potential for humane behaviour.

      Evolution has been kind to the human species in that most mothers (and
      many fathers too) have a disposition to love their children. This
      contingent fact is, I suggest, the grounding for the truth of what
      Trinidad and Johannes Climacus claim: that most human beings reach
      adulthood with the capability to act decently and love others. We have
      this capability because we were loved first – usually by our mothers,
      often by our fathers or other carers.

      Once we reach adulthood with the capability of loving others, it is
      then down to us. Do we have the courage, the resolution and the
      commitment to actually love others in our turn?

      Jim
    • Aija Veldre Beldavs
      ... i would state this even more radically - striving to not give up on any case, but this takes some humanistic social engineering or restructuring of
      Message 2 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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        jimstuart46:
        > But my claim is that most individuals, most societies, develop with the potential for humane behaviour.

        i would state this even more radically -
        striving to not give up on any case, but this takes some humanistic
        social engineering or restructuring of society, rather than heroic
        individualism.

        even individuals who are born with genetic defects, under optimum
        childhood environment have a much better chance to learn to be
        contributing to society, rather than destructive or a burden, if they
        have xtra support, training, and realistic recognition of limits.
        (ironically, some "primitive" societies may have done comparatively
        better in humanely integrating their mentally ill by assigning a
        tolerant special category that reduces fear and aggression all around).

        any society if it is to survive is living, dynamic, adaptive, and so
        changes as needed. although whole societies do indeed go wrong, become
        insane, or dysfunctional, this is not a necessary predeterminer of their
        future. even within a society gone wrong, there are individuals who
        offer alternatives, and when the time is right, they will be listened
        to. also there is a collective evolving accumulation of experience as a
        resource, and mechanisms that can be described as self-correcting.

        years back i was very impressed what was being done to improve the
        chances for autistic children while doing a student short term grant
        job for about 8 months at an autism research institute here at IU.
        however, after training, ongoing support is needed generally for life.
        i also was very impressed by a lecture given by Dr. Temple Grandin.
        growing up and having the proper support, she used what she had within
        her - thinking in picutures and other sense-scapes as a way to figure
        out how to respond verbally in a socially proper way. it's a skill
        most people take for granted as natural, rather than indirectly
        acquired. the genetic defect, born lacking empathy, may be offset by
        behavior training in childhood to predispose to socially acceptable
        behavior, "rewiring" of the brain, and being surrounded by models of
        acceptable behavior in adolescence, responsive to special needs.

        aija
      • jimstuart46
        Aija, I agree with everything you say – I share you optimism that disadvantaged individuals and dysfunctional societies can respond positively to the efforts
        Message 3 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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          Aija,

          I agree with everything you say – I share you optimism that
          disadvantaged individuals and dysfunctional societies can respond
          positively to the efforts of single individuals, small groups or
          collective mass movements.

          I agree that "humanistic social engineering or restructuring of
          society" is more effective than "heroic individualism." But in the
          absence of humanistic social engineering or restructuring of society,
          heroic individualism is the only game in town. In other words, heroic
          individualism is better than nothing, but humanistic social
          engineering or restructuring of society is best of all.

          But, of course, humanistic social engineering or restructuring of
          society only takes place when lots of single individuals make resolute
          commitments to work hard for the good of all.

          Jim
        • eupraxis@aol.com
          Jim, How would such social engineering look? Is this a social-democratic model or a kind of public works approach, etc.? Would it be governmental-legalistic?
          Message 4 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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            Jim,

            How would such social engineering look? Is this a social-democratic model or a kind of public works approach, etc.? Would it be governmental-legalistic? Or a kind of voluntarism; or authoritarian?

            Wil







            -----Original Message-----
            From: jimstuart46 <jjimstuart@...>
            To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tue, 4 Sep 2007 11:52 am
            Subject: [existlist] Re: Knowing how to live authentically

























            Aija,



            I agree with everything you say – I share you optimism that

            disadvantaged individuals and dysfunctional societies can respond

            positively to the efforts of single individuals, small groups or

            collective mass movements.



            I agree that "humanistic social engineering or restructuring of

            society" is more effective than "heroic individualism." But in the

            absence of humanistic social engineering or restructuring of society,

            heroic individualism is the only game in town. In other words, heroic

            individualism is better than nothing, but humanistic social

            engineering or restructuring of society is best of all.



            But, of course, humanistic social engineering or restructuring of

            society only takes place when lots of single individuals make resolute

            commitments to work hard for the good of all.



            Jim





















            ________________________________________________________________________
            Email and AIM finally together. You've gotta check out free AOL Mail! - http://mail.aol.com


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • jimstuart46
            Wil, Bill, The expression humanistic social engineering or restructuring of society is Aija s, so really you are better asking her what she means by it. I am
            Message 5 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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              Wil, Bill,

              The expression "humanistic social engineering or restructuring of
              society" is Aija's, so really you are better asking her what she
              means by it.

              I am not really very interested in politics – I prefer to think about
              philosophical matters.

              Politically I am a member of the Green Party here in the UK. The
              party stands against the destruction of the planet and in favour of a
              version of self-sustaining socialism.

              I am also a member of Amnesty International which campaigns against
              torture and the imprisonment of people purely because of their
              beliefs.

              I am also a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament which,
              surprise, surprise, campaigns for a world without any nuclear weapons.

              In terms of US politics, if I had been a citizen of your country in
              recent years, I would have voted for Ralph Nader in your presidential
              elections. But then again, didn't his votes in 2000 let Bush in, and
              cause all the current strife in the world?

              Now can you stop asking me about politics, and can I get back to
              existentialism?

              I started this thread with some remarks about the Existentialist
              ideas of Trinidad and Johannes Climacus. In the later posts in this
              thread I was basically arguing for the existentialist idea that
              radical change for the individual and for society is possible. I read
              existentialism as a philosophy of radical freedom. Each of us has the
              freedom to remake himself or herself in almost any way. Collectively
              the members of a society are free to remake their society in any way.
              Am I being naïve here? Am I being faithful to present-day
              existentialism here, or am I stuck in the 1950's?

              Jim
            • eupraxis@aol.com
              Jim, Your associations sound great to me. We probably share a lot in that regard. Wil ... From: jimstuart46 To:
              Message 6 of 8 , Sep 4, 2007
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                Jim,

                Your associations sound great to me. We probably share a lot in that regard.

                Wil







                -----Original Message-----
                From: jimstuart46 <jjimstuart@...>
                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Tue, 4 Sep 2007 3:40 pm
                Subject: [existlist] Re: Knowing how to live authentically

























                Wil, Bill,



                The expression "humanistic social engineering or restructuring of

                society" is Aija's, so really you are better asking her what she

                means by it.



                I am not really very interested in politics – I prefer to think about

                philosophical matters.



                Politically I am a member of the Green Party here in the UK. The

                party stands against the destruction of the planet and in favour of a

                version of self-sustaining socialism.



                I am also a member of Amnesty International which campaigns against

                torture and the imprisonment of people purely because of their

                beliefs.



                I am also a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament which,

                surprise, surprise, campaigns for a world without any nuclear weapons.



                In terms of US politics, if I had been a citizen of your country in

                recent years, I would have voted for Ralph Nader in your presidential

                elections. But then again, didn't his votes in 2000 let Bush in, and

                cause all the current strife in the world?



                Now can you stop asking me about politics, and can I get back to

                existentialism?



                I started this thread with some remarks about the Existentialist

                ideas of Trinidad and Johannes Climacus. In the later posts in this

                thread I was basically arguing for the existentialist idea that

                radical change for the individual and for society is possible. I read

                existentialism as a philosophy of radical freedom. Each of us has the

                freedom to remake himself or herself in almost any way. Collectively

                the members of a society are free to remake their society in any way.

                Am I being naïve here? Am I being faithful to present-day

                existentialism here, or am I stuck in the 1950's?



                Jim





















                ________________________________________________________________________
                Email and AIM finally together. You've gotta check out free AOL Mail! - http://mail.aol.com


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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